As winter weather closes in and December is on the horizon the cyclocross season is in full swing. The British Cycling Central Cyclocross League (CCXL) is BCC’s local league with 15 rounds of races on Saturdays or Sundays all within 1 hours drive of Berkhamsted.
The club has five regular racers and welcome more to join in these events. Some of the people racing cross are there to improve bike handling and keep fitness levels up, just being on the start line is a win. Others are more competitive and are moving up the placings.
There are specific cyclocross bikes but a mountain bike is fine with many riders using them in the races. So far this year the events have been mainly dry but a little mud never hurts. It’s a great way to keep fitness going over the winter and the events always have a great atmosphere. The races are split into age categories, and gridded based on past performance so riders are competing with similar ability riders. There is a regular bunch of spectators that always give lots of encouragement.
Niamh and Mervyn Dempsey are regular competitors, both have been cyclo cross fans for years. Their escapades were sidelined recently with the arrival of son Ralph but both Niamh and Merv are back in the swing of racing.
Following is a race report penned by Niamh from the 17th November 2018 race:
‘Corley cycles hosted round 9 of the central CX season at MK bowl on Saturday. New club secretary Jez Kidd, Jonny Gray and Merv and Niamh Dempsey took on the steep climbs and descents with baby Ralph posing as a keen spectator (soon to be world champion).
Out of a female field of 44 people Niamh came 19th. The boys had a huge field of 93 high level riders. Merv finished an impressive 38th with Johnny putting in an great ride finishing 79th! Jez had his strongest finish yet coming 84th’
Lee and Tommy dipped their toes into a Duathlon event (2 mile Run, 10 mile Cycle, 1 mile run) at Hillingdon on 11th November 2018 and this is their story…
Having done a few duathlons, triathlons and did I mention an Ironman in the past, I thought I’d encourage a few of the purely cycle related athletes of the club to join me in an end of season multi-sport blow out at Hillingdon!
It was a short duathlon, 2 mile run, 10 mile ride finished by a 1 mile run. Mr Wong was the only one that stepped up, having already told me he ran the Manchester marathon in the past, (that in fact wasn’t classed as a marathon as it was 200m short, still a sore point). Other members I asked rolled their eyes at the running aspect, even though the distances were miniscule!
It was wet, windy and early come race morning. Tommy, despite having got lost on the way to the start, spilling a whole mug of coffee in the clubhouse, missing the race briefing, was fully prepared to lose his duathlon virginity. He rocked up with his ex-pro bike and was immediately seen as a threat!
We lined up at the start line for the start of the event, Tommy and I found ourselves stood right at the front. We looked around and we were surrounded by what can only be described as whippet-looking racing snakes doing vigorous warm ups. We subtly drifted to the back, shivering, and waiting for the start gun to sound.
The gun went off and so did the racing snakes, Tommy and I started our leisurely jog at the back but soon realised we were on to beat the 1 mile world record just trying to stay with the pack. The course itself is a closed 1 mile cycle circuit, fairly flat and not too technical, so was a case of counting laps, 2 laps for the first run, 10 laps on the bike, finished with an all-out lap run finish.
I made my way into T1 about 15 seconds ahead of Tommy. I stupidly had some crank/twist mechanism on my carbon cycle shoes so spent an age putting them on. Mr Wong slapped my rear as he entered transition, looking fresh and mischievous.
We both headed out on our 10 lap cycle at the same time proudly sporting the BCC Jersey. Fortunately, I had my strap ons on my Canyon Aeroad (my aerobars). I tucked up in the aero position and powered my way through the brutal head wind whilst noticing Tommy fighting the wind behind me. He’s not used to being so exposed being the expert draft master he is. I opened up a half lap lead by the end of the ride.
Starting the final 1 mile run was a strange experience. In my head and being “metricised” I didn’t see a mile as far, so started out full gas with lead like legs from the bike. When my HR soon went into the high 190’s I decided to reel it back in, conscious that the short distance sprinter Wong would relish a 1 mile lap. I told myself not to look back as I caught a flash of the other BCC jersey in my peripheral vision!
The sun was now beating down as I crossed the finish line. I turned to noticed Tommy rounding the corner only a handful of seconds behind! What a performance for his first multi-sport event and such a huge smile!
We both finished in the top half of the results table, which isn’t too bad seeing I’m 6ft 3in weighing 95kgs and run like a hippo. Tommy is the complete opposite, 5ft 3in weighing 30kgs looking like a graceful gazelle.
Tommy and I felt we needed to share the accomplishment on the club page to encourage multisport, we kindly asked the guy stood next to us to take the picture, but as we handed him the camera he got called up onto the podium to collect his first prize!
Typically us newbies asked the race winner to take our pic! Ha. He kindly returned to us after spraying his champagne to take our snap. How embarrassing?!
We both highly recommend Hillingdon as an entry level duathlon. It’s a closed circuit and there was a real mixed bag of athletes there from seasoned pro’s to complete newbie’s riding MTB’s. Tommy has the taste now. If I can get Tommy in the pool, he can join me at Ironman Barcelona next Oct!! 😊
Just a couple of words from me to add to Lee’s excellent write up, I have been gradually reintroducing myself back into running, mainly in preparation for being a bit more time-poor next year, so the Hillingdon Duathlon seemed like the perfect event to dip my toe in, literally.
Lee failed to tell me that drafting was not permitted until just before the start, which was a bit like telling Messi he can no longer kick the ball with his feet.
Despite this handicap, rain and the nasty headwind, I thoroughly enjoyed the well-organised event and keen to try some more multi-discipline events. I just need to borrow Janice’s armbands.
Big thanks to Lee for talking me through it and cheering me on at the end, it was a fun morning out and the Maccies breakfast afterwards was well earned.
As 2018 draws towards its latter months it’s a good time to reflect on what has been achieved by our club’s members. Summer is hanging on, just, much later than it has any right to, but even though the days are shorter, the temperatures are still way up above the seasonal norm, meaning it’s still possible to get out and enjoy fair weather riding. Having said that, the summer racing series have closed and we’re heading into the winter crit and cyclo cross season.
This season has seen more BCC members taking part in competitive events than ever before, with many outstanding results being achieved. Several members have dipped their toes in the waters of competitive cycling for the first time, while others have enjoyed their first taste of the (metaphorical) Champagne.
The club has hosted four main competitive events, across different disciplines, and entered no fewer than three teams in the 9-up team time trial at Silverstone, including our first ever nine-person women’s team. Both of the men’s teams improved on their previous times, while the women set an initial time as a benchmark to build on in the future. Aside from these club events, many members have raced on their own account, flying the BCC colours in crits, road races, triathlons, individual and team time trials and cyclo cross.
It seems that hardly a week goes by without large numbers of our club riders completing sportives, with mass participation in the Prudential Ride London 100, a good representation in the Liege-Bastogne-Liege, and one or two tackling the grueling Dragon Ride, Fred Whitton Challenge and the Maratona dles Dolomites, to name just a few. With a fine spread of club members taking on the Tour of Cambridgeshire – a qualifying round for the amateur world championships – five of their number qualified to represent Great Britain in Italy. We even have our own Ironman, and several who took on and conquered half ironman competitions. Apart from these organised events we’ve had the greatest ever number of our membership heading off to tackle tough rides in all manner of mountain ranges around the world. We have also claimed a new world record. Everyone, it seems, is getting more ambitious and pushing themselves harder and further than ever before. Pretty impressive for a club that’s only four years old.
The year started with the Harp Hilly 100, which BCC won for the fourth year in succession. 51 members braved the chills and hills to bring home the much-coveted shield again, much to the chagrin of other local clubs.
By April the weather hadn’t improved much, but nonetheless a good crop of club members took part in the Berkhamsted Triathlon. We had individual members competing as solo entrants and we also fielded several teams of three, with overall victory going to BCC’s team comprising Emily Hartwell (swim), Matt Buckle (bike) and Rob Chambers(run). The fastest cycle leg of the day went to our own Simon Pearce, who just pipped Matt Buckle’s time.
May saw us visit the London Olympic velodrome, as 32 of us descended on the track to take over the venue, giving a fair few their first experience on the banked wooden boards. This was just a fun event, but more than one came away pledging to become accredited on the tracks and take up the sport.
June witnessed the Berkhamsted Castle Revolutions Festival, a day of crit racing on closed roads, which provided spectacular racing throughout, and a win for one of our members in the hotly-contested men’s novice race. In fact our club members dominated the results, with two podiums, five of the top six places, and seven of the top ten going to BCC. 2nd place in the women’s novice race also went to a BCC club member.
Into August and the BCC Road Race was run on a loop around Mentmore. An expansion from last year came in the shape of a women’s race in addition to the men’s. Across the two competitions we fielded an impressive seven riders, and came away with a win in the women’s Cat 4.
In September our 10 mile open time trial was revived on the Mentmore Loop, with a good turnout of 23 BCC members on the starting line. Our ladies were narrowly beaten to the Team Shield by Lovelo Cinelli Race Team, but we had a win in the “Athlete” class for standard road bikes. The men’s team went one better and brought home the Team Shield and took an individual bronze medal, while the “Athlete” medal was won by a BCC member, albeit entered under the Lovelo banner.
Which brings us to our last competitive event of the season – our club hill climb, run up Tom’s Hill in Aldbury in late October. A good showing of entrants from several local clubs, and one or two who had come from as far afield as Dulwich came to the start line, and was interspersed with a few of our own lightweight uphill flying machines. Although we didn’t win any prizes today, BCC put on an excellent showing and were roundly applauded and thanked by all those who took part, whose generous appreciation and acknowledgement made it all seem worthwhile.
So, all in all a very satisfactory season for BCC.
Everyone who has taken part in these competitive activities deserves recognition, but there are one or two individuals whose achievements I would like to highlight:
Matt Buckle, for his win in a Cat 3 crit race at Hillingdon. He would have scored a second win, but elected to take the short cut to hospital instead.
James Taylor, who within two weekends went from a Cat 4 racer with zero points to a Cat 3, with a fantastic race in which he just missed the win. He also put in some great time trial performances.
Ben Nixon, for winning in his first ever race, and going on to represent Great Britain in the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships in Italy.
Simon Pearce, for continually putting in outstanding performances every time he rides. 3rd in his age group (58th overall) in Ride London and 12th overall on Velothon Wales. Another Great Britain representative at the world championships.
Heather Taylor, for her 2nd in the women’s novice race at BCRF and her two triathlon wins.
Janice Bell, winner of the women’s Cat 4 in our road race and the “Athlete” class in our time trial. Also, Janice qualified for, and represented Great Britain in the world championship Gran Fondo.
Lee Morgan, for completing an ironman competition.
The above is just a small selection. Across the board no fewer than 67 of our members have competed in races of one form or another this season. Take a bow – you deserve it.
Berkhamsted Cycling Club Hillclimb, Tom’s Hill, Aldbury. 21st October 2018
Our annual test on Tom’s Hill was held on a crisp, bright Sunday morning which saw the picturesque village of Aldbury bathed in beautiful Autumn sunshine, and views across from the hill tops looking down onto mist-shrouded valleys. It couldn’t have been a better setting for the 36 riders who had come to support our event. The first rider was underway at one minute past nine, and after enduring three minutes’ worth of pain it was all over for him. Although there are no viciously steep inclines on the hill, it is quite challenging, and more than a few competitors mentioned how hard they had found it.
All seemed to have enjoyed the hurt of the competition though, and a steaming but happy throng made their way back to the event headquarters in Musette Cafe for refreshments and the awards ceremony.
Fastest time of the day went to Calvin Cheung from Hub Velo, with a most impressive two minutes and six seconds, while Karine Jones from Verulam Really Moving took women’s honours at two minutes, fifty two seconds. Well done Calvin and Karine. BCC were represented by a small, but perfectly-formed group, who put in some good performances, but fell just short of collecting medals. Next year they have promised to win.
This event has always been run as a B Category “closed” club event, but we are looking at running it as an open event for next year. With a larger field than ever before, and many entrants vowing to come back next year, 2019’s running could be even better.
A great day of racing. Well done riders, volunteers, supporters and Graham for organising the event.
Pictures can be viewed and downloaded (free) from Flickr by clicking the image below…
Sunday, 30th September saw BCC host its annual 10 mile open time trial on the Mentmore Loop. We were favoured by bright conditions, albeit chilly to begin with, and all competitors got round the course with no reported incidents.
Awards were spread around local clubs and teams, with BCC bringing home a few of the medals, to the appreciation of the partisan crowd.
Congratulations to the Lovelo ladies, who won the team shield, just ahead of BCC’s women. Our men won the corresponding shield for the gents, for the second year in succession. Well done all and many thanks to Graham the organiser along with all the volunteers.
1st: Helen McKay, Les Filles Racing Team
2nd: Samantha Fawcett, Lovelo Cinelli Racing Team
3rd: Nicole Oh, Les Filles Racing Team
1st Veteran: Helen McKay, Les Filles Racing Team
1st “Athlete”: Janice Bell, Berkhamsted Cycling Club
Team Shield: Lovelo Cinelli Racing Team (Samantha Fawcett, Bethany
Harrison, Rebecca Fawcett)
1st: Mark Ellis, Team Milton Keynes
2nd: Michael Parker, TMG Horizon Racing Team
3rd: Simon Pearce, Berkhamsted Cycling Club
1st Veteran: Mark Ellis, Team Milton Keynes
1st “Athlete”: Tim Newman, Lovelo Cinelli Racing Team (also a member of
Berkhamsted Cycling Club)
Team Shield: Berkhamsted Cycling Club (Simon Pearce, Ben Conradi, Lee
Congratulations to Ben Nixon who came 7th in his first ever Cat 4 race.
Ben worked hard leading the peloton at Hillingdon cycle circuit back to the breakaway group on the final lap. Rob Morton in his first regular British Cycling Cat 4 race and Rich were just outside the points.
Matt raced the Cat 3 event and finished in a strong 5th place amongst a very sketchy bunch sprint. 1 point away from gaining his Cat 2 license! A great evening for Berko CC.
Rich raced at Milton Keynes Bowl finishing 10th and gaining another point.
Sunday, 5th August saw Berkhamsted CC hosting its second road race. This year the event was expanded to include a women’s race as well as the men’s race. We were using the Mentmore course, incorporating a long straight drag, which on this occasion was into the wind, followed by a climb up to Mentmore.
For the men there were 12 repeats of this, covering 80 kms (50 miles), while the women had 10 laps, or 70 kms. All of this was undertaken in very warm conditions.
A full field of 60 riders had entered the men’s race, which got underway at 9.30 in the morning, although there were a few no-shows on the day.
Hugely disappointing was the wheel failure experienced by our own Simon Pearce. Fortunately it let go in the HQ car park as riders lined up behind the course car. The loud explosion as the wheel rim literally blew apart took everyone in the vicinity by surprise, and although Simon was disappointed not to be able to take the start he must have been counting his lucky stars that it didn’t happen on the 40 mph descent out of Mentmore.
Further bad luck afflicted another BCC member, James Burke, who punctured on the first lap and had to abandon. Apart from those misfortunes we did see four of our riders cross the finish line, with James Taylor heading Matt Buckle, Ben Nixon and Rob Morton. Our Cat 3 riders, James and Matt, did a superb job, staying with the pack until the finish line, while Ben and Rob had their own battle within the 4th Cat entrants.
The hotly contested race finally saw Richard Wiggins of Team Milton Keynes emerge victorious, followed by Cian Smailes of NFuse Identity Racing and Joe Baker of Zero BC Development Team.
The afternoon brought the ladies to the start line, and this was always going to be a very serious field, with cats 2, 3 and 4 competing for honours.
The main pack stayed together for the whole race, with Georgia Bullard of Team Jadan Weldtite – Vive Le Velo crossing the line first, followed by Charlotte Redden of Cycle Team On Form and Francesca Cutts of CC London. Both races saw great sprinting for the primes, and when the results were finally established it was enormously gratifying to see that BCC’s Janice Bell had won the Cat 4 competition.
From all the positive remarks and compliments from competitors, with many expressing their wish to compete again next year, I think we can say the event was a great success.
BCC would like to express their thanks to Grange Jaguar Land Rover, who supported the event and supplied the course cars.
The club also wishes a huge THANK YOU to the volunteers, marshals, British Cycling staff and our Performance Officer Graham Earl as without these people the race would never have happened. You are all winners!
For more pictures of the day click on the image below…
Matt and Richard have been out on the local crit circuits at Milton Keynes and Hillingdon. Richard is improving in the cat 4 races contesting for the sprint at Hillingdon and getting stronger as the season moves on.
Matt has had some well earned rest with family holidays and finished 6th at Hillingdon cat 3 race. He punctured early on, changed a wheel and had to sprint back to the bunch. Ultimately the effort cost as Matt felt he could have gone with a three man break that stayed away and took the top spots.
James Taylor rode in the Tour of Wessex, a three-day sportive. Not a stage race, but still a tough ride. Here is James’ account of the event:
Over the Bank holiday weekend I took part in the Tour of Wessex, a 3 day cycle sportive covering 325 Miles/ 525 km and 25,000 ft/ 7,600 meters of climbing.
Day 1: 100 Miles, 7,200 feet
The start of the first ride took me north into the Mendip Hills and a climb up through Cheddar Gorge, followed by some further tough climbs including a couple with gradients of over 20%. Finally, I looped back through Glastonbury then back to the HQ.
Day 2: 120 Miles, 7,500 feet
The second day started with a storm which turned the roads to rivers, fortunately after an hour or so the rain cleared and the sun came out. This ride was the longest of the weekend and took me south down to the Dorset coast and Corfe castle. There was only 1 significant climb about half way through the ride, which was 2 Miles long with an average gradient of 4% maxing out at 17%, the remainder of the ride was on rolling terrain back to the HQ.
Day 3: 107 Miles, 10,000 feet
Today’s ride would have been a very tough ride without 220 Miles in the legs as it included multiple difficult climbs. The pace at the start of today was much slower than previous days as everybody tried to save as much energy for the hill later in the ride. The first climb of the day was 1.5 Miles at 7% with multiple sections over 20%, this was followed by a 1.2 mile climb at 10% which took me into Exmoor.
Fortunately, the ride took us down the A39 (the steepest A road in the UK) which had gradients in excess of 25%. Though this meant ascending Dunkery Beacon, a 1.9 Mile climb averaging 10.3% with multiple sections in the high teens. With one final tough climb back through the Quantock hills, I had completed the event.
If you’re thinking of doing a multi-day sportive I would highly recommend the Tour of Wessex. A very well organised sportive with 3 great routes providing a real challenge in some stunning scenery.
Richard races at Hillingdon and Julian at the Lovelo Time Trial.
The race in Richard’s words…
West Thames Cat 4 race – 29 May 2018.
“The Hillingdon track continued to dry as the field of 25 riders battled a strong Northerly wind on the uphill climb. The breakaways came to nought as the pack controlled the race towards the bunch sprint finish. The pace increased with two laps to go and riders began to fall off the back. The young guns fought for position at the front and the sprint began as we entered the tight corners at the top of the track. I cut inside two riders gaining some clear road and began the sprint, on the long left hander to finish line, gaining on eighth but not enough road.
Count those riders ahead of me, eight!! Done it, my first points 🙂 ”
BCC currently rank 25th out of 63 clubs that have scored points in British Cycling Central League. A fantastic achievement for an all inclusive club.
Julian completed the Lovelo 50 mile time trial at the weekend averaging over 20 mph and up against some full-on TT rigs.
Marcin Białobłocki (ex CCC Sprandi Polkowice) won in a time of 1hr 34min 58secs – the third fastest 50 mile time ever!
If your going to be beaten it’s better to be by one of the best in the world!
The Academy got it’s first win in a while as Matt finally put his knowledge of Hillingdon to good use and won the cat 3 race.
Here is Matt’s account of the race…
“Epic race and splintered all over. Brutal headwind in the finish straight but a breakaway of 4 went from the gun, then dropped 1 to become 3 out front. It seemed a strong group so I helped pace at the front but it was pedestrian and disorganised in the bunch and the gap got out to about 30 secs. 3 more guys jumped off the front and got a gap.
Shortly after whilst pacing at the front I actually found myself sort of rolling off the front and with a little gap of my own. Rather than sitting straight up I decided to steady time trial just to make them work to bring me back. Then found a groove and found myself catching the 3 and growing the gap to the bunch. So I pressed on for about 4 laps solo in the gap, which was super hard – basically 600w intervals into the headwind each time up the finish straight, then trying to recover the rest of the lap whilst cornering as fast as possible.
I was closing, closing to what had become 6 out front. Then just as I was starting to really suffer, the cavalry arrived in the form of 4 more attackers from the bunch. I managed to latch onto them and buy my way out of a couple of turns but then started pulling through with them. We rode really well as a 5 to catch the 6 ahead with about 3 laps to go. We worked together enough to hold off the now fast chasing bunch.
A guy tried to attack with the break from 1.5 laps out but we had him marked and so a joined up breakaway of 11 went together to the sprint. I got a great position and latched onto to the wheel of a strong guy who started his sprint with about 200m to go. I knew I wanted to leave it as late as possible into the headwind and left it to the last 75m before I moved to come round him and made it just before the line.
First win for a LONG time!”
Other Academy racers were competing in crit, TT and road race events.
James and Matt at the Verulam – reallymoving Road Race on 20th May.
Matt punctured with two laps to go and despite a huge effort to re-join the bunch the pace was to high.
James found the brutally high pace difficult to maintain; 45mph down the descent, into walking pace / gravelly bend into sprint, into 30mph back to the turn, up and over Mentmore and repeat x15.
Both were very appreciative of the support from club members on the course.
James also competed in the Hitchin Nomads 25 mile time trial on May 19th finishing mid-field.
Jack raced in the Somerset Road Club cat 4 crit at Torbay Velopark on May 19th. A hard race and he stayed with the bunch until the last lap.
He also competed in the Milton Keynes Bowl cat 4 crit race on May 24th and was in with the bunch sprint until 400 meters to go when Jack had to break hard to avoid an incident.
Jack is improving race-on-race and it’s only a matter of time before he’s in the points.
David, James and Julian were in action at the Antelope 3-up 50km team time trial in Chalgrove, Oxfordshire. They finished in 1hr 27min 42secs averaging over 21 mph.
Matt competed in the Thames Velo road race and finished 11th averaging over 26mph for the 50 mile race. He felt that he could have placed higher but was slightly out of position for the sprint.
Matt was also at Hillingdon crit finishing 8th in the cat 3 race, unfortunately again boxed in for the sprint.
He competed in the Hemel Hempstead CC weekly 10 mile Time Trial on the 3rd and 10th of May. He won the former on a road bike and finished 3rd in the latter!
Matt is going very well and has started a TT bike build. The Academy cant wait 🙂
Paul and Trevor also raced in the HHCC 10 TT on 10th May and both thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Setting a bench mark to improve on over the summer.
Richard raced at Hillingdon in the cat 4 race finishing in provisional 15th place. Learning all the time and improving race-on-race.
James raced the London Phoenix 9 mile TT finishing in 11th place with a time of 22min 42secs averaging over 24mph. James was 1st on a road bike beating lots of full-on TT rigs!
BCC’s Matt Buckle has enjoyed a successful week, picking up a win in the Berkhamsted triathlon last Sunday, in which he rode the cycling leg in the winning relay team. In that race Matt’s time was just eclipsed by fellow BCC member, Simon Pearce, who claimed fastest time of the day, the pair just beating ex-BCC man, Matty Earles. Overall, it was a great day for the club.
Matt followed this victory with a win in Hemel Hempstead Cycling Club’s Thursday evening 10 mile time trial.
On the morning of Sunday 29th April in the freezing cold, damp and blustery weather (summer was last week – we’re back to winter now) the Berkhamsted Triathlon took place, based at the Knox Johnston sports centre.
BCC was very well represented by 6 sterling individual efforts and 6 relay teams. Each team consisted of 3 individuals making a total of 24 competitors. A fantastic turnout of over 10% of the club!
The results were quite outstanding, and everyone put in huge efforts just to be on the starting line on such a miserable day. Massive congratulations go to all who took part.
Of special note, the winning relay team comprised our very own Emily Hartwell (swim), Matt Buckle (cycle) and Rob Chambers (run). Well done indeed! Matt’s time on the bike was pipped by the always amazing Simon Pearce, whom (provisionally) took fastest time of the day, but it must be mentioned that Matt’s slightly slower time did involve him having to stop to inflate his punctured tyre! Pretty incredible.
5th place overall in the individual’s event went to ex club member Matty Earles, whose bike time was only just shy of the aforementioned Simon and Matt. A truly meritorious result Matty. Well done.
So, BCC really did seem to dominate, as we have done in the Harp Hilly 100. Let’s work on keeping this record and build on our success for next year at this very well run local event. Get training now. In the meantime, enjoy the photos…
James Taylor was racing on both days of the weekend, again. He has rapidly moved from a Cat 4 rider with no points to a Cat 3 racer. That impressive fact apart, he is now ranked 113th best time trialler in the country! Read about his spectacular performances below.
Cycling Club Hackney Circuit Race
After managing to navigate through the back streets of London, I turned up at the Lee Valley Velopark ready for my third race of the season. I had been given number 13 for the race, perhaps it would be lucky for me.
Having never ridden the track before, I had one neutralised lap to learn the course, fortunately the first few laps weren’t very quick so I got a bit longer to familiarise myself.
Adopting the Steve Cummings role of sitting on the back of the group conserving my energy, I watched as multiple breaks tried and failed to get away due to the strong headwind on the finish straight. Only once did I have to chase back on when not concentrating while having a drink. Now I had to decide when was best to make my move.
With 5 laps to go a small break went off the front and pulled out a decent lead. Looking like the break could stay away this time I made my move at the start of the next lap. As I attacked I checked back to see if anyone else was joining me, but nobody was.
Within half a lap I had bridged the gap to the front three and then tried to recover on the back of the group. With three laps to go I checked back again and the main bunch were beginning to close the gap so I moved to the front and upped the pace.
With two laps to go I looked back and we had a decent lead again, meaning it would be a race between us for the win.
Not wanting to get boxed in for the sprint like last week, I decided I would start my sprint early. As we rounded the final bend, I put the hammer down, topping out at 1,359 watts, sprinting for the line. Unfortunately I was pipped on the line, and finished in 2nd place earning 8 BC points. This makes my total for the season 12 points and enough for my Cat 3 licence! Looks like number 13 was lucky for me!
Richard Metcalfe also raced and stayed in the pack for the majority of the time but the surges in pace brought about by the attacks were to much and Richard finished safely near the back of the peloton.
Icknield Road Club Time Trial
With heavy legs I rode over to Cheddington village hall on a drizzly Sunday morning.
The course was two laps through Mentmore via Wingrave, 30km in total, fortunately for me much less hilly than last week.
I settled into a decent rhythm on the first lap, but as I started the second my legs began to tie up and I struggled to keep the power down. Only another 20 minutes of suffering!
I finished with a time of 50:50, which placed me in 6th overall. Combined with my other TT results I’m currently ranked 113th in the country!
Matt and Richard raced at Hillingdon crit circuit for the first of the year’s Tuesday evening BC West Thames series of events.
Richard entered the 4th cat only race and Matt the 3rd cat only.
The 4th cat race was the first to start and Richard stayed mid pack for the majority of the time. There were a couple of attempts at a break but none of them stuck. Conditions were not ideal with a cross head wind on the finish straight that proved to be Richard’s undoing.
The final lap bunch sprint was a close run affair with Rich finishing safely near the back of the pack as the combination of headwind and strong sprints proved too much.
Richard was happy with his race with many race tactics learnt and is looking forward to the next one.
Matt was up next with the 3rd cat race that followed a very similar format as the 4th with the bunch staying together for most of the race. Matt kept close to the front but managed to stay out of the wind.
On the last lap Matt moved up and when 3 riders attacked off the front he went with them. Unfortunately the riders ran out of power which left Matt taking the head wind as the bunch rounded the final corner and Matt was swamped in the sprint with 300 meters to the line. Provisional results has Matt around 15th place. Live to fight another day!
James had a busy Easter Bank Holiday weekend with a criterium race on Saturday and a hilly time trial on Sunday, both of which he did very well in.
Following are race reports from James… (Photo credits to Frankie Snell’s Photography)
West Drayton MBC Hillingdon Crit
After confirmation that I finished in 9th place in the MK Crit the previous week, I had my first precious British Cycling point on the board.
On Saturday afternoon I went down to Hillingdon with the aim of adding to my points total.
As I completed a couple of warm up laps the wind started to pick up, and from the advice of fellow BCC racers, they said that it was unlikely that a break would get away if there was a strong wind.
So the race started, and time and time again they were proved right, as various riders tried to break away and as soon as they hit the headwind they were quickly brought back to the group. However, this didn’t stop some trying and failing to make repeated attacks. I was more than happy to sit in the bunch and let them waste energy.
Into the final three laps, and a small group put the hammer down, I jumped onto a wheel and clung on as the pace picked up further. This split the race in half with only about 10 riders able to cope with the increased speed. Going into the final lap I was trying to position myself for the sprint finish. Someone opened their sprint just before the final bend so I jumped to their wheel, but they quickly faded, I went past them but was now boxed in meaning I couldn’t make up any further places, so I had to settle for 7th.
3 further BC points on the board, and now only 8 until that Cat 3 licence.
Watford Velo Sport Whiteleaf Hardriders TT
When signing up for the Watford Whiteleaf TT I had a look at previous editions and in the past the race had gone up Whiteleaf twice. Tough, I thought, but doable, though maybe for some sick April fool’s day joke this year it would be 3 times up the hill!
Going up Whiteleaf would be at the end of each lap, so I had about 10km to prepare myself for it. I started well and got into a good rhythm though turning onto the hill quickly stopped that, sapping the energy from my legs, it was a grind to the top.
1 lap down 2 to go, I settled back into my rhythm and finished the second lap just 26 seconds slower than the first. Just 20 minutes of suffering remaining.
Going up Whiteleaf for the final time and feeling like I was cycling through treacle, I emptied what I had left in the tank, clocking a time of 1:02:45 and finishing in 7th place!
The club wishes James congratulations on a great weekend’s racing and speedy progress to Cat 3.
Up and coming star in the BCC ranks, James Taylor, was out on both days at the weekend, making significant steps forward. Well done James, on two excellent results.
Milton Keynes Bowl Crit Race
After a week cycling in Spain (if it’s good enough for the pros…), with a decent amount of base miles in my legs, I was ready to start my race season. I was a little apprehensive after multiple set backs last year, but I turned up to a cold damp MK bowl on Saturday morning.
After a few warm up laps of the track with Richard, we were ready to race. As if on cue, as the race started so did the rain, wonderful. The pace started off steady as we completed the first few laps. 5 minutes in, and with no increase in the pace, I attacked up the hill, I checked back to see if anybody was joining me, but nobody else decided to join in the fun.
After about 5 minutes off the front the bunch started bringing me back, so I sat up and rejoined them. I burnt a few matches in my breakaway so now was time to recover, I moved to the back of the group and let everyone else do the work.
With the rain persisting and conditions not getting better, nobody else tried to get off the front. 50 minutes in, the 5 laps to go board went up, and so did the pace. It continued to ramp up, stretching out the group and a few gaps started to form, at this point I was quite far from the front.
Going into the final lap, I was sitting in around 20th position, as we came onto the back straight, as we began going uphill, I started my sprint early. I started picking off those in front of me, more gaps were opening as I went up the hill, and the possibility of a top 10 finish was increasing. I gave one final push and overtook a few others just before the line moving into the top 10, and claiming my first ever BC points. Final positions are still to be confirmed, but best case is 7th. Now time to recover for a time trial on Sunday.
Sid Latchford Time Trial
A Time trial which includes going up Bison hill and Invinghoe Beacon at 8 am on a Sunday morning, most people’s idea of hell, but for 91 of us, we fancied putting ourselves through an hour of hell. I started well and was feeling good, catching my minute man half way up Bison hill. My legs were screaming at me on the long drag up to the Beacon, but the end was in sight. Going into the final straight with a slight tail wind I pushed for the finish, clocking a time of 57:54, putting me in 4th place in the road bike category, only seconds off the podium.
The 2012 London Olympic venue of Hadleigh Park, Essex hosted the first round of the Mud Sweat and Gears cross country mountain bike series on an extremely chilly Sunday afternoon. BCC racer Mervyn Dempsey, is continuing his preparation for the 2018/19 Cyclocross season by participating in selected rounds throughout the year. Competing in the Sport Male category Mervyn finished 24th of 35 starters in an extremely competitive field.
In Mervyn’s words…
“2005 was the last time I took part in any sort of mountain bike race and probably the last time I did any serious technical off road riding so lap one was a bit of a shock to the system! However within a couple of laps the confidence started to return and I could start to enjoy everything Hadleigh Park had to offer! It a was long and tough race with lots of climbing and a lot of fast riders, but I’m happy finishing 24th in the end. The aim was to have fun and improve the technical skills, both achieved! Looking forward to the next one!”